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chilipepper | Jan 22, 200908:04 PM     335

Well, maybe someone has heard prayers for soup dumplings.
Imagine my surprise driving along St. Marc and spying this joint near Tupper that promises those elusive dumplings.
It's a spare, tiny, all-white basement space with three foldout tables and about 12 or so folding chairs, a cash register in the back, and a little counter with condiments, napkins and utensils and such.
But when I was there, all the seats were filled, mostly by Chinese university students chattering away in Mandarin and chowing down dumplings.
I didn't have time to sit and indulge so take out it was.
It's a one sheet paper menu with over 20 different dumplings, grouped under:
Vegetarian, Seafood
Seafood, Seafood with Meat
Pork, Beef, Lamb
plus a smattering of appetizers and other dishes.
But dumplings are pretty much it. They come boiled or steamed, 18 per order, ranging from 7 to 14 bucks.
The helpful cashier-waitress recommended the pork and seafood and lamb coriander.
Not feeling like lamb, I got the beef coriander, boiled, and the pork and seafood, steamed.
WARNING:
It takes 25 minutes for the prep and cooking.
But I think it was well worth the wait.
I am no expert on soup dumplings but BOY did these taste good.
And she did warn me about biting into these succulent bits "because there's soup inside."
Juicy explosions abound!
The beef and coriander were fab, though I am prejudiced since I love coriander.
The pork ones were okay, with a little half of a shrimp and a faint ginger taste.
I preferred the boiled: brings out the doughyness which I also love.
Not sure if soup dumplings are supposed to be like that, but they were similar to what I've eaten in NYC.
BUT they looked like regular, oblong dumplings, thick wrapper, crimped along the top.
Are they supposed to look like little, round, thick-wrapped dumplings with twisted tops? I've seen and eaten both.
No matter:I gobbled them up.
Dumplings are their speciality, handmade they say, but I spied two tables snarfing down beef on huge bones, like the pork ones I've eaten at Lao Beijing. And they even had the requisite plastic gloves. When I queried, the gal says it's on the menu under "Salads"(?!?!) which is all in Chinese by the way. (More on that later) It's 6th on the list. And when I mentioned I'd eaten something similar on Cote-des-Neiges, she said straightaway, "Oh, Lao Beijing!"
The menu is in Chinese and English, except for several items (like the Salads section that includes those yummy looking meaty bones). So next visit, I'll ask for translations!
They also had some lovely tea, herbal like, which the kind miss told me was sunflower. I thought maybe Chrysanthemum, it was faintly similar.
Hoping soup dumpling expert hounds can report on this place, and if it rates, encourage them!

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